Greatest Films of the 1990s
Greatest Films of the 1990s

Greatest Films of the 1990s
1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999


Title Screen Film Genre(s), Title, Year, (Country), Length, Director, Description

Bound (1996), 108 minutes, D: Andy and Larry Wachowski

Breaking the Waves (1996, Den./Swed./Neth./Fr./Norway), 159 minutes, D: Lars von Trier

Crash (1996), 98 minutes, D: David Cronenberg

The English Patient (1996), 162 minutes, D: Anthony Minghella

Fargo (1996), 97 minutes, D: Joel Coen
An offbeat, clever, kidnap whodunit-caper and black comedy, a tale of greed and crime, involving a financially-stricken Midwestern car salesman Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) who ineptly schemes to kidnap his own wife Jean (Kristin Rudrid). When his hired henchmen Carl and Gaear (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) botch the kidnapping, their murderous plan is persistently investigated by Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand), the pregnant police chief of Brainerd, Minnesota.

Independence Day (1996), 135 minutes, D: Roland Emmerich
In this jingoistic disaster film, a major hit that grossed more than $817 million (worldwide), mysterious alien invaders threatened to destroy Earth's major cities. Plans to protect and defend the US are set in motion by hotshot pilot Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith), computer hacker/technician David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum), and the President of the US Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman) - on, of course, July 4th, Independence Day. A sequel is due in 2016.

Jerry Maguire (1996), 138 minutes, D: Cameron Crowe

Lone Star (1996), 130 minutes, D: John Sayles

Mission: Impossible (1996), 110 minutes, D: Brian De Palma
See Mission: Impossible series.

The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996), 103 minutes, D: Milos Forman

The Pillow Book (1996 Fr./UK/Netherlands), 126 minutes, D: Peter Greenaway

Scream (1996), 111 minutes, D: Wes Craven
Wes Craven's surprising, rejuvenating horror hit-spoof self-reflectively paid tribute to various stalker/slasher films, beginning with the character of a long-faced killer named Ghostface costumed for Halloween as the Grim Reaper. The elaborate and satirical, self-aware script (by Kevin Williamson) deliberately referenced numerous classic horror movies (with trivia, quotes, cliches, and "rules"). One hapless teen victim was punished for getting the facts wrong about Friday the 13th (1980). Craven's film noted the truth about most scary movies: "What's the point? They're all the same. Some stupid killer stalking some big-breasted girl who can't act who is always running up the stairs when she should be going out the front door. It's insulting." But then, he deftly and effectively inserted the genre's common plot devices into the mayhem to further his own ends - to celebrate the slasher film. Notice cameos from Linda Blair (The Exorcist) and from Craven himself as janitor Fred (Krueger) - and two telling quotes about how real life can imitate art: "It's all one great big movie…only you can't pick your genre," and "Don't you blame the movies! Movies don't create psychos! Movies make psychos more creative!" In the unmasking during the bloodbath Grand Guignol finale, the vengeful perpetrators (two movie-obsessed assailants) were discovered to be disgruntled teens finding retribution for adultery and the breakup of a family.

Secrets & Lies (1996, UK/Fr.), 142 minutes, D: Mike Leigh

Trainspotting (1996, UK), 90 minutes, D: Danny Boyle

Twister (1996), 117 minutes, D: Jan de Bont

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